In these Extraordinary times you might imagine that the Eurobodalla Council would call for an Extraordinary Council Meeting to discuss Extraordinary things. Instead we are learning that most of our 'extra ordinary' councillors refuse to do so when invited by the General Manager, under request of a councillor, as per protocol, to call for a urgent gathering of councillors to consider, review and action whatever might be required by way of Extraordinary matters. One only has to look across social media to see the Eurobodalla Council being derided from one end of the shire to the other for their refusal to waive tip fees for fire affected material. Residents are looking to our north and south to see Bega and Shoalhaven Councils waiving tip fees for fire affected material. They are looking south to Bega and seeing that council has already sat to consider important and urgent issues that have come about as a result of the recent fires and they have determined the methodology and criteria for distribution of donated Disaster Funds to the community. Eurobodalla Council have not defined any criteria nor distributed any Eurobodalla Disaster Funds. While Bega Council had its Disaster fund in place on January 3rd it took Eurobodalla Council more than two weeks to establish an account, instead recommending that cash donations be made to National bodies rather than local known charities. While the Council staff called for an urgent meeting of local Business Chambers to measure the impact on them they failed to invite (or even inform councillors of the meeting). Along with requesting, not just once, but three times, an Extraordinary meeting, Councillors Mayne and McGinlay along with the community remain in the dark over most of the issues that are being asked; from waste fees, excess water fees, how donations will be distributed along and the myriad of questions around Council's failures during the last event that saw continued evidence of Council's lack of disaster preparation from the perspective of asset loss, infrastructure loss, infrastructure performance and the financial consequences of the event to the community. Councillor Mayne has been pushing for Eurobodalla Shire Council to provide a public web page for feedback of what worked and what did not prior to any meeting on the recent fires but his request has fallen on deaf ears of both the majority of his fellow councillors and of staff.
Clr Mayne posted to social media "I have requested that our Council meet to discuss the current state of affairs. Bega Valley Shire Council met last week, so we know it can be done."
"I have been asked so many questions by our community. Ranging from Why is council charging us to dump green waste at the tip given the current circumstances, Will we be charged excess water rates for fighting fires, why is the mayor apologising to the PM on behalf of Cobargo when it is not even in our Shire, and what is Council's baiting policy given impact on hungry wildlife? The questions keep coming." "We have come through this together, although with significant impact and loss. I know my fellow councillors have been working within the community and that some have experienced their own loss."
"At a point in time we need to come together to map out the way forward. To reflect, to review and to take on board the lessons that we have collectively learnt as a Shire. And this needs the input from across our Shire. We need a mechanism to listen and to hear as part of our own healing and to ensure we grow in our capacity to respond to future events." "I guess you could even call it, our own mini local royal commission, so we can hear from across our community, to celebrate what we did so well, to lament the loss and to learn what we can do better next time."
"As our first Council meeting with the public is not until Tues Feb 11 I have been seeking a meeting to discuss the process and role of Council addressing the variety of issues we are now all dealing with." Clr Mayne posted "In the Eurobodalla we lost 449 homes to bushfire, 73 facilities, 714 outbuildings, not to mention all the damaged buildings and the devastation to our beautiful coast. Our economy, of which Tourism plays a key role, has been severely disrupted."
"Lets hear from the Experts. It is not a blame game! Not a simplistic finger pointing exercise! A genuine comprehensive review. Might even include climate change in the discussion." With the continued refusal of the majority of councillors to attend an Extraordinary meeting to discuss anything at all the community will see the Councillors on February 11th at their first meeting of 2020. And unless there is a review raised as an item in the Agenda nothing will be discussed."